Press Release

May 30, 2014
Cardin “Cool Roofs” Bill Would Create Jobs By Eliminating Barriers To Energy Efficient Retrofits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Committees on Finance and Environment & Public Works, announced that he has introduced the ‘‘Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Act,” S. 2388, which would boost job creation in the construction industry and significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the U.S., lowering energy costs and saving money that could be better invested in local communities. Cardin’s bill shortens the depreciation schedule for the installation of certain “cool roofs” that meet insulation and other energy efficiency standards on existing buildings.


“We don’t need to choose between good jobs and helping the environment – we can do both with the same policy,” said Senator Cardin. “Cool Roofs provides an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and add nearly 40,000 jobs to a sector of our economy that still has not felt the full effect of our emergent recovery.  It’s no wonder this bill, which provides incentives to install energy efficient roofs and simplifies the tax code, has such broad support across industries and labor.”


S. 2388 is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Senator Cardin also filed the Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Act as an amendment (S. Amdt. 3186) to the EXPIRE Act (S. 2260). U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 4740).


“This is a jobs bill that has the added benefit of saving millions in energy costs with energy-efficient roofing systems,” Rep. Reed said. “The bill fairly puts the depreciation period of a commercial roof in line with its actual lifespan, a common sense reform to our tax code that results in a win for manufacturing and construction jobs and a win for small businesses working to improve their energy efficiency and lower their energy costs.”


“This bipartisan bill creates good jobs right here in America while helping local businesses lower their energy costs,” said Rep. Pascrell. “By making this correction to our tax code, we can help businesses reduce energy consumption through key investments in our nation’s green infrastructure and strengthen our economy through job creation.”


The Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Act has attracted a wide range of supporters, including the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), which determined that the bill would create nearly 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers; add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue in the construction sector; make the tax code simpler and more equitable for small businesses of all types; reduce U.S. energy consumption and save small businesses millions of dollars in energy costs; and reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 metric tons – an amount equal to the emissions of 153,000 cars. Additional supporters include:


  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
  • Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR)
  • Global Cool Cities Alliance
  • Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
  • Joint Roofing Industry Labor and Management Committee
  • National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)
  • Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA)
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA)
  • United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers


The current depreciation schedule for non-residential property is 39 years despite an average lifespan for the roofs on such buildings of just 17 years.  This causes building owners to delay the full replacement of older, failing roofs in favor of limited, piecemeal repairs.  Building owners that do install a new roof before the current 39-year schedule has elapsed are required to depreciate both roofs at different schedules. The Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Act lowers the depreciation period for commercial roofs to a more realistic 20 years.


Just as important, due to technological advances, today’s commercial roofs are much more energy-efficient than their predecessors, saving energy and resources that could be invested elsewhere in businesses and local communities.